Posted in review

Review: Suspicious Minds (Stranger Things #1) by Gwenda Bond

Summary from Goodreads:

A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.

It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be further from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.

But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines. When word gets around about an important government experiment in the small town of Hawkins, she signs on as a test subject for the project, codenamed MKUltra. Unmarked vans, a remote lab deep in the woods, mind-altering substances administered by tightlipped researchers . . . and a mystery the young and restless Terry is determined to uncover.

But behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory—and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner—lurks a conspiracy greater than she could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including one so mysterious the world doesn’t know she exists—a young girl with unexplainable, superhuman powers and a number instead of a name: 008.

Amid the rising tensions of the new decade, Terry Ives and Martin Brenner have begun a different kind of war—one where the human mind is the battlefield.


I’ve had this novel on my radar ever since I knew that someone was writing a novel set within the Stranger Things universe. Of course, when I saw this at my library I grabbed it and managed to read this in one day. XD

What I Liked:

Writing Style. This is my first novel by Bond and it will not be my last. I was a big fan of her writing and how she crafted her characters. 

Characters. Bond writes from the point of view of the two Stranger Things characters, Terry Ives and Dr. Brenner but also creates some of her own. I enjoyed the different points of view and the friend group within this thriller. It is hard to pick but I think Alice, a tomboy in the late 60s, was by far my favorite. 

POVs. I found it really interesting to read from the various points of views. The one that I found the most chilling and well-written was the point of view of Dr. Martin Brenner aka the bad guy from Stranger Things season one. 

Fandom. This was a great addition to the Stranger Things universe. It expanded on the character, Terry Ives. Her story was only given a few moments in season one and an episode in season two and it was interesting to see it unfold. It even gave us a look into Dr. Brenner’s twisted mind as well. I also loved how Bond wove in some of the events of the TV show as well.

What I Disliked:

Pacing. I felt that the book did drag a bit for me when it hit the middle. I struggled to keep going when this happened. However, the pacing/action picked up by the end.

Length. I felt that the novel could have been longer. I wanted to know more about Terry and what happens next. It did feel like this novel was left open for a second novel following Terry or Kali. 

I recommend those who are fans of the TV check out this great addition to the fandom. It was a quick and interesting read.


4 Stars Out of 5 Stars.


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